Preserving Bonds: Insights from Toronto Humane Society’s Urgent Care Foster Program Case Report

| May 24, 2024

Toronto Humane Society’s Urgent Care foster program stands as a beacon of hope and support for individuals navigating crisis situations, offering a lifeline for their beloved animal companions. From housing instability to fleeing interpersonal violence or undergoing healthcare treatments, the program extends a compassionate hand to those in need, preserving the invaluable human-animal bond. 

To evaluate the impact of the Urgent Care foster program, Toronto Humane Society’s Dr. Jacklyn Ellis, Director of Behaviour, Dillon Dodson, Director of Social Work, and Larisa Nagelberg, Director of Strategic Initiatives & Mission Advancement, along with Rachel Bedder (Toronto Humane Society’s first social work student from the University of Toronto), published “Unleashing insights from Toronto Humane Society’s urgent care fostering program: a community case report” in the esteemed Journal of Shelter Medicine & Community Animal Health, published by the Association of Shelter Veterinarians. 

More About the Community Case Study

The depth of impact rendered by the Urgent Care foster program is truly staggering, as reflected in the wealth of data analyzed in the case report. Over the study period, encompassing January 1, 2020, to October 1, 2022, 358 admissions were recorded, representing 328 unique animals from 244 families. Among these admissions, an astounding 74% resulted in joyful reunions between pets and their families—a testament to the program’s efficacy in preserving familial bonds even in the face of adversity. This information is crucial as it is one of the few publications about pet safekeeping statistics, and it is our hope that it will inspire and support other organizations to launch similar programs to assist families in need in their communities. 

The report delves into the intricacies of the program’s operations, shedding light on key variables that influence outcomes. Factors such as species, communication frequency, and medical or behavioural needs emerge as critical determinants of outcomes. Through meticulous analysis, opportunities for program enhancement have been identified, paving the way for even greater impact in the future. 

The significance of the human-animal bond cannot be overstated, and the Urgent Care foster program stands as a shining example of its power to heal and uplift. In times of crisis, when individuals are grappling with immense challenges, the presence of a beloved pet can provide solace and strength beyond measure. By extending support to both humans and animals alike, the Urgent Care foster program embodies the ethos of compassion in action. 

As we extend our heartfelt congratulations to Dr. Jacklyn Ellis, Dillon Dodson, Larisa Nagelberg, and Rachel Bedder on this achievement, let us also reaffirm our commitment to fostering a world where every individual, regardless of circumstance, can experience the profound joy and comfort of companionship with their animal companions. Together, let us continue to champion initiatives that uphold the sanctity of the human-animal bond and nurture a more compassionate society for all.